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PRESS RELEASE

August 31, 2004

Jacob DiPietre
(850) 488-5394 or
Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush and Incoming Education Commissioner Winn Announce Florida's SAT, PSAT and AP Results
Minorities continue to lead increase in participation and improvement

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and incoming Education Commissioner John Winn today announced a record number of Florida's students are taking pre-college exams. Florida had the largest increase in Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) test-takers of any state, with more than 61 percent of public high school students taking the test compared to 60 percent last year and 57 percent in 2000. Florida's test takers are more diverse than their national counterparts, yet the average Florida SAT score improved by two points, while the national score remained the same.

"Thanks to our partnership with the College Board, more Florida students have access to higher education," said Governor Bush. "Every day, students and teachers across this state are proving the ability to achieve is not dictated by background, but rather by high expectations and hard work."

The most significant increase was among Florida's African American students, whose combined score jumped nine points (three in verbal and six in math), while the combined score for their national counterparts remained the same. Average combined scores for Hispanic students in Florida, only 15 percent of whom report English is their first language, rose by two points.

"As more of our students take the PSAT and challenging AP courses, Florida's performance will continue to improve," said Winn. "We are creating a culture of aspiration where students — regardless of their background — are striving to succeed."

On the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship National Qualifying Test (PSAT), which is offered free of charge to all Florida 10th graders, 61 percent of students took the exam, compared to 54 percent last year. From 1999 — when only 21 percent of 10th graders in Florida took the PSAT — to 2003, the number of PSAT takers in Florida has jumped nearly 217 percent. Again, the most significant increase was among minorities. In the last year alone, participation among African Americans jumped by nearly 20 percent and among Hispanics by more than 21 percent.

On Advanced Placement (AP) exams, Florida's students continue to excel in participation and performance. Nearly 22 percent of Florida's 11th and 12th graders took AP exams in 2004, compared to less than 21 last year — the third largest increase in the nation — up from only 15 percent in 2000. Florida also saw the second greatest increase among all states in the number of students passing (receiving grades of 3-5) AP exams.

AP participation and performance rose most dramatically among minority students. Nearly 22 percent of AP test takers in Florida were Hispanic, compared to less than 13 percent of national AP test takers. Over the last year alone, scores of 3-5 for AP exams taken by African American students in Florida increased 13.5 percent, compared to 10.5 percent nationally.

According to the College Board, 45 percent of students who have taken one AP course and 61 percent of students who have taken two or more AP courses complete their bachelor's degree in four years or less. By comparison, only 29 percent of students who enroll in colleges without having taken AP complete their bachelor's degrees on schedule.

For more details on Florida's performance on SAT, PSAT and AP exams, please visit www.fldoe.org. To learn more about Florida's unique partnership with the College Board, log on to www.collegeboard.com/floridapartnership.